A painting of the Laundromat building by Kimberley artist Lori Joe.

A painting of the Laundromat building by Kimberley artist Lori Joe.

A new art gallery in Kimberley

Art Gallery Kimberley at the Laundromat

A new art gallery, the Laundromat, is opening in Kimberley. It will be run by Irma de Visser, who formerly worked at Centre 64. In the summer of 2021, she noted that Centre 64 was booking monthly solo/group art exhibitions in the gallery into 2025. If a show was cancelled there was a waiting list of artists ready to take the empty space.

Obviously, there was an opportunity for another art gallery in Kimberley.

“With the large number of talented artists in Kimberley and area and with new people continuously moving to town, there is a real demand here for exhibition space, and there is no commercial art gallery in a prime location. That is about to change,” said Irma.

Renovations began in October 2021 to transform a building that housed laundry facilities for approximately 50 years into her new art gallery. Irma has named her gallery, “The Laundromat,” and will feature some remnants of the former laundromat.

“It’s that industrial touch that helps give the space a funky, welcoming feeling. Art is for everyone and it is important that visitors feel comfortable and not intimidated by the space, as they often do in traditional art galleries,” says Irma. “The easygoing and entertaining gallery experience at Art Gallery Kimberley will reflect just that”.

Art Gallery Kimberley will facilitate art; represent original artwork and artists that Irma is excited about; and build meaningful and lasting relationships with artists, art collectors, and the community. It will feature original fine, functional, and decorative art by Canadian artists while specialising in Kootenay nature, Kootenay wildlife, and Kootenay small-town living. With monthly changing exhibitions and regular visual, performing, and literary arts events, there are always new and exciting experiences to enjoy for all. “The Laundromat” will also be made available for holding meetings, receptions, workshops, and other events.

The official opening is scheduled for May, although there has been a soft opening this month. The first exhibit is by Kimberley artist Grant Smith. This solo art exhibition will feature Grant’s latest stencil and block prints of local animals along with his chalk drawings of pine trees from the Second Butte in Wycliffe and the backyards of houses along 106th Street Rails-to-Trails pathway. Additionally, Grant has completed an artwork to support Wildsight’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Program. Part of Grant’s art exhibition will be a free series of introductory art demonstrations for the creative and the curious: 1.“So, You’ve Always Wanted to Draw? Four Things Good Drawers Already Know” 2. Capturing Your Travels in Watercolour” and 3. “The Simplest Stencil Print Technique Ever!”.

To stay up-to-date with what’s happening at “The Laundromat”, people can visit artgallerykimberley.com or thelaundromat.ca and sign up for the newsletter. The recently launched website features a small selection of the artists and artworks that will be represented at Art Gallery Kimberley, with more artists to join the online platform soon.